For Routt County children, annual fair is not all work and no play |

For Routt County children, annual fair is not all work and no play

Scott Franz

— The phone calls start a month before the Routt County Fair starts.

Don’t forget to bring your iPad so we can dance to music, 10-year-old Alivia Warren will tell her friends.

Make that country music, another friend chimes in.

Oh, and don’t forget the tent and the deck of playing cards.

For the children who attend the weeklong fair to show animals they have spent many months raising, the days at the fairgrounds in Hayden are not all work and no play.

And the excitement starts building weeks before the event.

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Between checking on her steers and doing other daily chores at the fair, Alivia and her friends can be spotted playing poker, spraying each other with water bottles, devouring funnel cakes and making new friends.

At 8:30 a.m., it’s time to feed the steer.

But from 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., it’s all about the funnel cakes and the card playing.

“We try to leave some of the stress behind,” 11-year-old Leah Allen said Wednesday, shortly before the swine showmanship competition.

For many of the children interviewed on Wednesday, the fair is a place to catch up with friends and take a break from some of the summer days they spend helping family in the hayfields and tending to other things on the ranch.

Leah and the other children look forward to the annual fair as if it’s some sort of holiday.

They realize that, on the Saturday at the fair, they will say goodbye to the livestock they have raised during an emotional moment.

The children acknowledge they know the ultimate fate of the animals, but say they sometimes pretend other people are just taking care of them now.

Before that day though, a lot of the fair is about fun.

Jumping up and down in the middle of the animal barn, 10 year-old Levi Allen can’t contain his excitement.

“Fair! Fair! Fair!” he said, after he described the things he liked most about the annual gathering.

What do the children enjoy most about the Routt County Fair?

Alivia Warren, 10: “Riding carnival rides for free on Friday.”

Leah Allen, 11: “Camping with friends and getting to meet new friends. Poker. Funnel cakes.”

Levi Allen, 10: “Dancing on Saturday and getting money after selling animals.”

Colt Larkin, 10: “Seeing other people’s animals, making money selling animals.”

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

Alivia Warren’s fair schedule for Aug. 12

8:30 a.m. Feed steer/check pen

8:45 a.m. Free time

9:00 a.m. Walk steers

9:30 a.m. Play cards

10 a.m. Free time

10:30 a.m. Wander anywhere

11 a.m. Play cards

11:30 a.m. Wash steers

Noon Eat lunch

12:30 p.m. Check pens

1 p.m. Hang out at camper

1:30 p.m. Free time

2 p.m. Get funnel cakes

2:30 p.m. Play cards

3:30 p.m. Free time